Low-quality work environments increase risk of psychical and mental stress
Feeling satisfied with the career of choice and with the every day job is a matter that has a tremendously positive impact on our health.
As according to a recent survey by RAND, almost 66 per cent of the workers in the U.S. are not content with their jobs and another research in the UK shows that unemployed people are less stressed than the ones with bad jobs, scientists raised the question about the negative impact bad work-related environments can have on general health status.
The RAND study, conducted by Nicole Maestas, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, gathered the answers of 3.000 Americans. Turns out that hostility, lack of support, physical exertion, potentially dangerous situations, verbal abuse and sexual harassment were the most reported work-related problems.
“The top of the organization sets the tone about what this culture values and tolerates as far as behavior and codes of conduct, which filters down to all of the supervisory levels. So at every point, having a boss that will either not be disrespectful or intervene if you’re being treated disrespectfully by someone else is really, really important,” Professor Maestas commented.
About a quarter of the respondents reported difficulties in finishing their jobs in time, not earning enough money and having no time left for leisure activities. “Good prospects for advancement” was only reported by 38 per cent of the interviewed workers.
The study provides important information for companies that aim to increase the working conditions for their employees, as a happy worker is a more productive one.
As the percentage of people reporting a bad work environment was higher than expected, Seth Kaplan, psychology professor at George Mason University, explains:
“We focus a lot on very dramatic overt behaviors in the workplace, like workplace shootings, for example. Those are relatively rare. But it’s usually the kind of harsh or mildly aggressive supervisor that’s the chronic stressor that’s there every day that doesn’t get as much attention. And I think we kind of fail to realize how detrimental those types of stressors can be.”
The physical health implications even indicated that people with no jobs are less stressed than people with poor jobs. On contrary, mental health was observed to be better in employed people, regardless the quality of jobs.
Clever choices, flexibility and communication remain the best ways to maintain high psychical and mental welbeing as well as have a fulfilled career.